Sri Lanka targets three million dogs for mass cull
Sri Lanka has lifted a moratorium on killing stray dogs as the government attempts to cut down on the 2,000 people that are hospitalised every day after being bitten, a media report said Saturday.
Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena told the Swarnavahini television network that the government had decided to revert back to destroying strays, a practice suspended five years ago, because of rabies concerns.
“Clearly our new policy has failed…,” Sirisena told the privately run network. “As a government, we have decided to go back to the previous practice.”
Sri Lankan law allows the authorities to catch and kill stray animals, but a presidential order suspended the practice in 2006 following lobbying by animal rights groups.
But the health minister said stray dog populations had rapidly increased, to three million in recent years, and had become a major public health issue in an island of 20 million people.
Some 2,000 people are hospitalised daily after being bitten by stray dogs, the minister said, adding that the authorities were spending over $13 million annually to deal with the problem.
Animal rights activists said sterilisation efforts had failed because of corruption and mismanagement by public health officials.
“We want the government to reconsider this decision and ensure a humane treatment of these animals,” said Sagarika Rajakarunanayake, of the Satva Mithra animal rights group.
A health ministry official said the government was going ahead with plans for a sanctuary for stray dogs in the north of the country, but rights activists said it was not a practical way to look after stray animals.
They argued that the sterilisation programme should be made more effective along with a campaign to vaccinate stray dogs against rabies.
As soon must this street dogs problem must solve,we no need any street dogs their for so problem us.Many city we have these problems currently peoples specially small kids can´t play and go out anywhere this madness dogs try to bitten.
Animal rights activists should this case must understand their much things effecting in envairomently! We also well know it dogs specially desease creating animal.
O What a news item to read first thing on a Poya day morning.
O WHAT A NEWS ITEM TO READ FIRST THING ON A POYA DAY MORNING.NO COMMENTS PLEASE.
This is an issue we need to think rationally and not emotionally.
The concept of ‘ahimsa’ applies to all creatures, man and beast alike. But how many of us practise it in reality? How many murders and injuries occur daily through anger and greed! In all countries wanton cruelty to animals are illegal. However, we raise animals for food. In some religions, like Buddhism, consumption of meat is forbidden. They practice vegetarianism. There are pros and cons to this practice.
In India, cows are protected as a ‘sacred animal’, according to Hinduism. Hence there are many stray cows in the cities and villages, feeding on whatever they can find on the roadsides. They have become a nuisance, as they cross the busy roads slowly or even lie in the middle of roads. When they die their carcasses are removed and thrown in the local dump for the vultures to feed on. What an unhappy end! As they are not buried/cremated the putrid smell of these dumps are unbearable for local people who live near them.
In developed countries, including Buddhist Japan, there are no stray dogs. They have a planned policy of preventing stray dogs altogether. This is done through several ‘Dogs Homes’ in the cities, which are run as a charity. Dog wardens catch stray dogs to be cared for in Dogs Homes. If people lose their dogs or if someone no longer wants to keep a dog as a pet, the dogs are cared for in the ‘Dogs Home’, till someone claims their dog or someone collects the dog as a pet. If no one claims or collects a dog for a pet, the animal is put down humanely through an injection and disposed of humanely. This applies to stray cats also.
I think this policy developed countries is a wonderful idea. We in SL should also organise such a charity. There are many ric, benevolent people who could start this, for religious merit. Some even leave some money in their Last Will for such a charity. Isn’t it better to care for a dog/cat rather than be allowed to live a neglected life of suffering as a stray dog/cat, to fend for themselves in the street. They live on food they can find in dustbins or thrown to them by people. They multiply fast as strays with little regulation. They are affected by diseases and even rabies.
These stray dogs have become a threat to people. Most stray dogs live as packs, just as in the wild. They have their leaders and order of precedence. Dogs are territorial. The packs will attack people sometimes, if a lone person or a child cross their territory. People known to them are not attacked. Many people have to be treated daily for dog bites to prevent rabies and infection. Some people and children have even died through dog bites. This is needless deaths and injuries for people. My elder sister was bitten a few months ago in Dehiwela, as she walked along a lane alone to meet a friend. It was a traumatic experience for her. We have complained to the authorities about it.
I am glad at last, the government has decided to find a solution to the problem by culling. But is this the proper soution? Culling means, the number of stray dogs are only reduced. The dogs that are left behind can then multiply. They are still a threat to people and children. Hence, isn’t it better that we find a humane solution to this problem as in developed countries, in accordance with Buddhist principles?
My idea is not to allow any stray dogs/cats at all, by having DOGS & CATS HOMES across the country, run as charities. Let us be rational and not emotional on misplaced religious concern. Isn’t it more humane to care for strays rather than allow them to live a life of suffering and neglect? Isn’t this more in keeping with religious principles. As civilised human beings we owe it to animals to care for them. Wild animals in the forest can care for themselves and should not be killed for food. But stray dogs need to be cared for in Dogs Homes run as a charity. They are then washed, given food and vaccinations to prevent diseases, and treatment when injured. When they are too ill or severely injured they can be put down humanely by an injection, just as a pet dog is put down sometimes to prevent suffering. They can be neutered also. If someone has lost their dog they can check the Dogs Home for it. People can also collect a dog for a pet from these Dogs Homes. Since, the well- cared dogs in these Homes are healthy and trained.
Surely, as a civilised and developed nation this is the way forward, to solve our stray dog problem! We should not neglect them by a misplaced, blind interpretation of the principle of ‘ahimsa’. ‘Ahimsa’ could be applied not only to creatures but also to plant life. Hence we should care for our environment and prevent de-forestation, neglect and dumping of rubbish in someone else’s back yard.
This is a serious and sensitive issue for Buddhists in particular, because of the principle of ‘ahimsa’. Perhaps it is fitting that we reflect on this today, on Poya day.
We should not kill animals even to eat. I personally have found it difficult to eat meat now, though as a child I grew up eating meat. I am quite happy being vegetarian. I think it is even healthier because it is unlikely to cause cancer, heart problems and strokes etc. But this is my personal view. We cannot impose personal views on others. We can only encourage others also to be vegetarian for health reasons.
Stray dogs and cats should be looked upon, not as a problem but as fellow beings also, in need of care, on religious principles. In homes, pet dogs, cats and other animals are well cared for, due to the warmth, love and company they give us in return. Dogs serve us also as guard dogs to protect us. Police dogs are useful for forensic purposes. Hence, we as human beings have a duty of care for these animals who have unfortunately become homeless. They have become strays. They cannot speak for themselves, hence we should think and act on their behalf as rational human beings with a duty of care for animals and our environment. Let us not look upon these strays as a problem. Infact, we created it. Isn’t it time therefore, as rational human beings, we find a solution by looking after them and not leaving them to suffer as strays, in finding their daily sustenance and riddled with disease?
I am sure even Lord Buddha would approve, had he lived in our times, that caring for them in a Group Home for Animals is better than allowing them to wander about in streets, uncared for. In developed countries, they have special sanctuaries for old donkeys, horses, cattle and animals that have been rescued from circuses, such as monkies. In developed countries they have special Dogs and Cats Homes, as I have mentioned in Blog 4. I think it is wonderful to care for these animals properly in such homes, rather than let them wander about neglected as strays to suffer. These homes are run as charities, aided by benevolent people, for merit. Some even leave money in their Last Will for such charities.
I would like to narrate a little story from the life of St Francis of Assissi, a Catholic saint who lived in Italy in the 12th C. One day he came to a little village where the people lived in fear of a fierce wolf, who came down from the adjoining forest every evening to snatch a goat, lamb or chicken or even a child for food. St Francis waited for the wolf outside, that evening while the villagers locked themselves up in their homes. The wolf came ravenously towards St Francis growling fiercly. St Francis spoke to him lovingly and addressed it as “Brother wolf”. St Francis chided him gently for frightening the villagers. The wolf sat at St Francis’ feet like a tame dog, with head bowed and wimpered. St Francis then called the villagers out and entered into an agreement with them and the wolf. The villagers agreed to feed the wolf every evening with meat, in turn, and the wolf kept his end of the bargain not to harm the villagers. The problem was solved.
Hence, we need to think from the point of view of the animal, and care for the dogs and cats in a special home for them, rather than let them suffer in the streets neglected, and a problem for people. This is better than culling every year. I hope, Hon President will set up such a charity and encourage benevolent people to support the charity. This will be in keeping with Buddhist principle of ahimsa in our modern day and age.
We enough for these streets dogs more then 5 years experience,now the time reduce for streets dogs.Here many peoples wrote comments for dogs supports,Many peoples suffering for the dogs past times specially pour peoples.Rich peoples never face any street dogs problems because of their never walk streets,they always using vehicales but pour peoples walking streets and they facing every kind of problems.
Religeons and goverments are differents we should understand it.Goverments can´t work every persons opinion for rules.
Balumathaya I totallyagree with you and Nicolas. WE have to tackle isues like this rationally not emotionally.The govennment does so many things in the country as and when they please so why worry about what all the do gooders say. If the decission is going to benefit the country then go ahead with it. The govenrment will never satisfy every body all the time. As Nicholas stated the time has come to think and act rationally in order for people to feel safe on the streets in Sri Lnaka. Now that the roads are so clean in most of colombo area if we can solve this stray dog issue as soon as possible it will do the country a whole lot of good especially that we are experiencing a huge presence of tourists and foreigners. seeing so many stray dogs is certainly not a very good impression for visitors. we do need more tourists to come in to the country to generate revenue so we must do what we have to do now not in a year or two to create a good impression.
Dear ND, I wish to disagree.Yours is an Utopian concept, not at6 all practical.Let me also relate an incident from the past.The last Sangaraja of Kandy decided to give a square meal to all the stray dogs of the area.He got almost all the stray dogs into the temple compound and laid a variety of foods and released the creatures to enjoy themselves.The noise and the fighting was so great that even the King living next door was disturbed and on learning that it was the desire of the Sangharaja,he made a famous saying that although he was a raja,he hails from Thumpane,a domain notorious for fools.You are going to fail if animals and men are treated equally.Sterilisation will go a long way to supply the demand and reduce the excess.It is being applied to arrest the population explosion among the humans as well.
I am glad you disagreed because we can then all have a healthy debate in this forum, and I hope more contributors will join.
AUJ, you claim my idea of a Dogs Home as impractical and utopian. I would first like to refer you to the website for one such Cats & Dogs Home. Please visit through Google, ‘Battersea Dogs Home’ and click ‘search’. They give a lot of information about their organisation and the work they do. It had been established in England in 1860, and has grown since. It has three large Homes altogether in England. Their website publishes photos and a video also which is very informative, on how they run the Home. Hence this concept is not ‘utopian or impractical’. There are such Homes in USA and other developed countries also, run as charities.
I think this concept of such a Home to care for these animals conforms with our Buddhist principles also. I hope the Hon President would initiate this viable project along with a few rich and generous people, for spiritual merit.
On our road to development, being a Buddhist country especially, don’t you think it is right and proper we establish one or two such Homes to begin with? Don’t you think our roads would be free of such stray dogs which is a threat and a nuisance to people and also an eyesore? What would any tourist think of our country on seeing flea-ridden, diseased stray dogs fighting, defacating and copulating openly in the streets, like wild animals, fighting over a female very often. It is unhealthy as well. Many adults and children are also bitten and even killed by these strays. Some die a horrible death from rabies. I wonder how many tourists have been bitten and suffered over the years.
I am sorry I have to say again, we cannot be emotional and naive on some religious principle. We have to be completely rational and think in terms of development of our country, as a civilised nation.
Culling of the stray dogs, that have multiplied over the years into millions, is a short term, immediate solution. It has to be carried out by all the Local Govt Authorities around the country, with an ad hoc allowance from the Finance Ministry. In carrying out the culling, we need to have in place rules and regulations, aims and objectives. Each Council need to appoint several Dog Wardens, to go on daily rounds in Council vans to catch these animals and bring them to a dog pound, where the dogs are selected for culling. Prevention of the process by misguided people should be banned by law. The dogs are selected on the basis of age, disease, injuries and ferocity. A Vet, appointed by the Council, then puts the animals to sleep by injecting a noxious chemical, as practised in developed countries. Their carcases are cremated. The healthy animals are held in a special Dog Pound in cages within the Council grounds, specially built for the purpose. People who have lost their dogs can visit the Dog Pound to claim their dog. People in need of a pet may also visit the Dog Pound to select a dog, who is first vaccinated by the Vet with the recommended vaccines. They may make a donation to the dog pound, but it is not compulsory.
In this way, over a short time, many thousands of stray dogs can be culled and taken off the street altogether. The healthy animals should not be put back on the street, even after being vaccinated and neutred, as the dogs could still attack people through territorialism and the problem will not be solved, but reduced.
The real solution as a developed nation is to set-up a special charitable organisation to run Dogs Homes round the country, in the manner of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. They could even advise us on how to set it up. I do hope the Hon President would give my idea serious consideration in our effort to make SL a developed and highly civilised nation, in line with the most developed countries in the world.
Dear Nicholas Dias , SisiraP , AUJ, Athanayake,
Reading the above comments makes me throw up in my mouth.
You people talk about “Religion” as if you follow the rules. I bet none of you think about this crap when eating delicious Big Mac…
Hurting an innocent animal that has done nothing to deserve this much cruelty.
Unless provoked they do no harm to a soul. If provoked they will do the needful, that is totally acceptable. Uneducated Sri Lankan’s running the government should think about how to develop the country financially. Killing this poor animal does not solve any problems, but will raise negative international awareness, which will hurt whatever reputation this country has. A stray dog has the same right as a man living in the streets. We can’t play GOD to these animals. If you like playing god please be kind enough to kill the Murderers and rapist that roam around in Sri Lanka. This will be more beneficial.
“Some 2,000 people are hospitalised daily after being bitten by stray dogs” this might be true.
All the 2000 have provoked these animals and got what they deserve. I have seen people harming them for no reason at all.
Conclusion: All animals including humans have the same right to live.
A Voice for the stray dogs of Sri Lanka
The octagenarians and fervent bloggers, Nicholas Dias and AUJ passed away in Feb/Mar this year.
Dear Rogers and Athula,
The only Octogenarian used to traverse this domain sometime back AUJ is very much living and kicking in good style. Though due to senile decay I am constrained to keep a very low profile yet I very much take pleasure in running through these columns almost daily.
The ADMINISTRATOR SURREPTITIOUSLY reproduced a blog of our comments on I0th Jan 2012 perhaps in an attempt to test our response and get good gentlemen like Rogers and Athula to make naughty remarks on our hibernation.
The Administrator has succeeded. Thank you Rogers and Athula for your deadly comments.